My Wish List for Teachers
by Jen Hatmaker on May 6th, 2014

Here in Texas, it is Teacher Appreciation Week. Because we have no idea how to appropriately thank them for their incredible labor, we say, “Here is this mug and also a gift card to Chili’s. Be blessed.” Everything is inadequate. There isn’t a reward that makes viable sense for the men and women who serve not only as our kids’ educators but their counselors, relationship interventionists, coaches, cheerleaders, therapists, personal tutors, motivational speakers, and occasionally their benevolent wardens.
Teacher Job Description: Dress up like a chicken for weekend talent show.
Stipend: zero dollars.

I wish I could skip into your classrooms and make it rain cash money, travel vouchers, solid gold trophies, and confetti made out of the STAAR test you just endured. Since I can’t actually go all Oprah on you, I’ve made a Wish List of all the things you deserve:
 
Let’s talk salary. As I said to you last year: “I’ve calculated your earnings by adding your classroom hours, pre- and post-school hours, conferences and phone calls, weekend work, after-hours grading, professional development requirements, lesson planning, team meetings, extracurricular clubs and teams, parent correspondence, district level seminars, and material preparation, and I believe you make approximately 19 cents an hour.”
 
My wish for you includes basic figuring, reasonable standards, and some simple calculations. I’ve done the math, and teachers should make a minimum of $438,932 a year. This is basic economical science. My spreadsheets tell me that educating an entire generation is among the most important work on earth, and you should make more money than the shot girl at a bar. (She officially makes more than you, but please don’t leave our children to start dealing in jello shots. We will give you all the Chili’s gift cards you can handle.)
 
I wish for you a better way to evaluate your effectiveness in the classroom than these blasted standardized tests. Obviously, tests created by non-classroom people and legislators are going to nail appropriate benchmarks for the students they don’t teach (sarcasm font), but I can’t help but think you could improve these measuring sticks while in a coma underwater. I wish your pay grade and job security did not depend on a room of nervous children mastering a test that doesn’t necessarily indicate achievement, but rather, tends to be an accurate indicator of the income of the student's parents and his fortunate (or unfortunate) placement in the “norm,” because heaven help the ESL kids, those with special needs, the underresourced, the at-risk, the creatives, and the divergent learners.
 
I wish you were judged on your amazing creativity, and how that one day, after endless hours of personal attention, a lightbulb clicked over your student’s head and he got it and you gave up a whooping cheer. I wish newspapers skipped publishing your STAAR scores and rather covered that incredible week you engineered an entire city economy for your second graders complete with civic jobs, currency, stations, and budgeting activities. If only you were evaluated on what you do best and what actually matters: teaching kids to love learning, to love books and authors and words, to love numbers, to embrace science, to discover history, to create art, to think critically and practice good citizenship and leadership and resourcefulness and determination. Because THAT is your crowning achievement. We know this, Teachers. We parents understand you hate those multiple-choice scantrons too, but legislators need these measures for their campaigns and who else is going to fund the $1.7 billion testing industry? What are we supposed to do, divert that money to teachers’ salaries?? Now you’re just being silly.
 
We see you. We see the incredible work you do and most of us couldn’t care less about those test scores. We are standing over here with Chili’s gift cards doing the slow clap, applauding your innovation and dedication. You are amazing at the Real Stuff and we know it.
 
I wish for you fancy, all-expense trip paid vacations this summer, which you and I know is not “three months off” like the dumb-dumbs say, because by the time you complete all end of the year paperwork, grading, and classroom organization, attend all summer professional development requirements (often voluntary because you WIN THE UNIVERSE), then begin preparing for the start of a new year, your “three months off” looks more like 41 days. So I wish I could whisk you to France and the beach and the mountains and California and cruise ships and Spain where there are no students but lots and lots of bread products and cheese.
 
I wish you could be reimbursed even half of what you spend on your classroom. I don’t see the shot girl buying Tequila out of her own pocket, amiright?
 
Teachers, I wish more parents understood that their Precious Child probably isn’t an innocent victim of your unresolved daddy issues and rage disorder. She is in detention for an actual reason, Mom. Kaitlyn-Grace needs to do her homework and close her sassy mouth. Those tears are manufactured. Kaitlyn-Grace should join theater.
 
Elementary Teachers, I wish you the grace of Jesus and the patience of Job on rainy days. There is not enough Jenga on earth to substitute for outside recess. May God shine upon you. With actual sun. So these children may return after recess smelling like gym socks.
 
I wish all your committee meetings, grade-level planning sessions, and school-wide in-services could be boiled down to actual productive minutes
, taking your yearly attendance from approximately 795 hours to more like 12. Bless. Good thing Facebook is right there on your phone. God speed.
 
I wish zero teachers had to instruct all day then go home and oversee their own kids’ homework. That is just asking too much. Let’s call a teacher managing her kid’s science fair project at 7:30pm what it is: a tragedy and impending meltdown. Stop it, universe. She’s done enough.
 
I wish you could hear all the good things our kids say about you at home. They are singing your song ‘round these parts. We know every funny story you’ve ever told, every interesting teaching approach, every good and loving thing you’ve ever said, and every memorable moment you’ve created. My children think you know everything and we know nothing. If it comes out of your mouth, it is the gospel truth. Please tell our kids to get a job this summer.
 
I wish you knew how much we love and appreciate you.
You have an incredible legacy in the lives of our kids, and they will still be talking about you 30 years from now. When you cheer them on and go the extra 45 miles and pour your lives out for other people’s children, we cannot possibly thank you enough. You are literally helping to raise the entire next generation. What could be more important?
 
So we wave our Chili’s gift cards over here, proclaiming that TEACHERS ARE INVALUABLE AND WE OWE YOU A DEBT OF GRATITUDE WE CAN NEVER PAY. Thank you, Teachers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. A hundred cheers and all our love. You matter so much.
 
Please have a Quesadilla Explosion Salad with a side of Chicken Crispers on us.




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236 Comments

Angie - May 6th, 2014 at 12:53 PM
Thank you from a first year teacher who made the switch after 15 years of corporate. And, I love it. :) And, I love Target gift cards. :)
Betsy - May 6th, 2014 at 4:22 PM
YES to Target gift cards! :)
Liz - May 6th, 2014 at 11:52 PM
For sure! I can get art supplies, stickers, etc and even a frozen something for dinner at Target!

Tom Staszewski - December 2nd, 2014 at 6:38 PM
Teacher Advocate Defends School Teachers and offers tips to inspire today's
teachers!

Handbook dedicated to helping teachers succeed and stick with it throughout the
entire school year!

Tom Staszewski
tomstasz@neo.rr.com
814-452-0020

In this era of policy change and educational reform at the K-12 level, suddenly
%u201Ceverybody%u201D has become an expert on our school systems. In my opinion, there is
a great amount of unjustified criticism that is unfairly being leveled against
our schools and our teachers. Most of the criticism is unfounded, baseless,
undeserved and distorted. Many critics of our school systems have never set foot
in a classroom to see what%u2019s going on %u2014other than their own experience as a
former student%u2014and their criticism is erroneous and counterproductive. If they
(critics) would take the time to better understand just how hard the teaching
profession really is, they would change their criticism to face the reality of
today%u2019s schools and society at large. I believe that most critics would find it
difficult to even make it through even one day in the life of a typical teacher.
The essence behind the book is that today%u2019s teachers are under a lot of pressure
and scrutiny and there is a need for more support, recognition and appreciation
for the good that they are providing for society. So the point of my book is to
inform the uninformed about how difficult it is to teach in many of today%u2019s
schools. And to provide recognition to educators and to thank teachers for the
positive difference they are making in society. I%u2019ve always said that our
schools are a reflection of society and society at large has changed and
undergone a dramatic shift from previous generations. The book also focuses on
the success stories and %u201Cwhat%u2019s right%u201D with our schools rather than %u201Cwhat%u2019s
wrong%u201D with our schools. Unlike previous generations%u2026in many homes today,
whether it be a single parent household or with both parents home%u2026many parents
send their kids to school unfed, unprepared and with little or no basic skills
and often with no social skills, etc.

In my previous work as a motivational speaker and professional development
trainer, I have personally worked with thousands and thousands of teachers
statewide and nationwide and I have found them to be hard-working, dedicated,
industrious and committed to the success of their students. It%u2019s about time that
someone has taken a stand to recognize and acknowledge the value to society that
teachers are providing and to thank them for their dedication.

What is the theme of the book?

In addition to thanking and recognizing the good that teachers provide to
society, the book is also a handbook that can be used by the teacher as a means
of providing coping skills and methods to succeed in the classroom with the
trials and tribulations of teaching. It provides a means of offering tips,
strategies and techniques to make it through the day and to have a successful
school year. In many respects it is a personal growth and development type
handbook.

From the first-year teacher to the most experienced veteran, this book provides
an inspiring message that yes, indeed%u2026teaching is the most noble profession. It
serves as an acknowledgement of the importance of teachers and recognizes that
%u201Cteaching is the profession that has created all other professions.%u201D This book
provides real-life tools, tips and strategies to have a successful school year
and to persevere beyond all of the challenges associated with the profession.
Filled with insightful and meaningful stories and examples, it will provide a
pep talk to help teachers stay focused. Readers are able to maintain the passion
that brought them into the profession and to develop a plan to be the best that
they can be.

Author Tom Staszewski, Total Teaching: Your Passion Makes It Happen. Lanham,
Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Copies are available through the publisher Rowman and Littlefield and also at
amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com or from Rowman & Littlefield Education Phone:
(301) 459-3366, http://www.rowmaneducation.com Customer Service, Toll free:
(800) 462-6420, custserv@rowman.com

Gretchen - May 6th, 2014 at 12:53 PM
Yes. Amen.
Gwen - May 6th, 2014 at 12:54 PM
AMEN!! God Bless teachers everywhere!
Aimee Baskin - May 6th, 2014 at 12:55 PM
God bless you! Thank you for saying what we all should...everyday!!!
Erica - May 6th, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Thank you for putting the most perfect words to how I feel about my kids teachers! I plan on printing this out for them and giving it to them along with their pedicure kits, beach towel and gossip mags in hope they will get to enjoy their summer just a bit. I will never be able to repay my kids teachers for loving them. Thanks for this Jen!
Becky @bybmg - May 6th, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Yes, I echo the thank you. I'm in my 8th year of teaching. So many times I've wondered if there's something else I could do, but I keep doing it for the love of the kids.
Katerina - May 6th, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Love Love Love!!!
Kim - May 6th, 2014 at 12:57 PM
Oh, how I love this! There is not enough words to tell my kids' teachers thank you and to express my gratitude for the teachers who taught ME throughout the years. I remember nearly every single name of every teacher I had. God bless them, everyone!
Kerry - May 6th, 2014 at 12:58 PM
For the reals. I love it. As a mama, you said it perfectly. As a teacher, it was just what we want to hear. And better yet, we are almost done with folder signing all around. Glory.
Megan - May 6th, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Oh. My. Word. I love this so much. Every word of it!
Jay - May 7th, 2014 at 11:19 AM
Silly article. Soldiers make about 2 cents an hour and don't get summers off.

Jill - May 6th, 2014 at 12:59 PM
This sums up my mom right here! She is one of the best teachers I know, inside and out of the classroom. Thank you Jen for highlighting what the world should be celebrating: the amazing teachers this country depends on!
Shannon - May 6th, 2014 at 1:01 PM
Beautiful! I'm forwarding this to all my teacher friends with a wholehearted YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Donna - May 6th, 2014 at 1:03 PM
YES AND AMEN!
Ches - May 7th, 2014 at 2:10 PM
As a father of a wonderful teacher and husband to one with a teaching background, plus sisters who also took on this challenge with skill, caring and love, you stated so very well what many believe. Bless those who work this "magic"!
Cheryl - May 6th, 2014 at 1:09 PM
Bless you! Finally a parent who gets it! Thank You!!
- A retired teacher (after only 14 years) staying at home to teach my kids so I don't have to deal with all that nonsense.
Kristin - May 7th, 2014 at 10:54 AM
Me too. I made it 13 years and now I homeschool.
Courtney - May 6th, 2014 at 1:11 PM
Is bursting into tears or laughing til I pee my pants the appropriate response to this? Because I may have just done both. Exquisite. As ever.
Katie - May 6th, 2014 at 1:12 PM
As a new teacher I want to say that my mugs and gift cards were so SWEET. I hope that effect never wears out!
Amber - May 6th, 2014 at 1:14 PM
Thank you dear Jen! My hubby is a 5th grade science and math teacher...a 14-year veteran that has been seriously considering leaving the profession because of the way teachers are negatively viewed and evaluated. This has been an incredibly stressful year for him as half of his class has some sort of special needs and due to the launch of the new "evaluation" system. He is SO great at what he does, his students ADORE him, and he does it for all the right reasons. He feels this is his calling from God--but has had doubts because it has gotten so bad. I wish I could attach a video he just made for his students (on his own time) to help lighten the mood and encourage them through this week's standardized tests...and then followed with high-fives for all of them as they left the building after the tests. I tell him all the time how wonderful he is, but I guess it's not the same when it comes from your wife. :) I look forward to sharing this with him, just so he knows there is someone else out there that "gets it".

PS - Don't underestimate the power of a Chili's gift card...that means DATE NIGHT for this teacher's wife!! ;)
LaVon - May 6th, 2014 at 4:43 PM
Wife, never underestimate the value of your admiration and respect for him. Keep telling him. It means everything to him and motivates him to continue to invest in students who need him. Praying he will remember that the God who called him will supply him the grace he needs to shine and encourage every day. God bless him!!
Amber - May 7th, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Thank you so much for the encouragement and prayers! It saddens me to think of all the students that would miss out on him if he chose to leave...and knowing he's not alone, that there are so many other wonderful teachers going through the same thing!
Amanda Jo - May 6th, 2014 at 1:17 PM
THIS IS PERFECT!!!!
emma @ {from my little pink couch} - May 6th, 2014 at 1:28 PM
Yes! Just ... Yes!!!!
Sarah - May 6th, 2014 at 1:28 PM
SO.MUCH.YES!!!!!!
Lisa - May 6th, 2014 at 1:30 PM
When my kids got big -- because I saw the great value of their teachers in their lives, I went back to school and became ... tada! A teacher! High school business teacher here (NO TESTS!!) -- in a low income, high ESL population school, where my senior boys are proudly headed to the Marine Corps, all the girls want to be pediatricians ("Um, sweetie, let's talk about that takes ... "), and my question of the day today: "Do you believe in the Illuminati?" "No, darlin', I believe in Jesus. Now let's get back to calculating the balance in this petty cash fund." Never a dull moment, and oh, how I enjoy you as well, Jen Hatmaker! Thanks for understanding us!
Christina Anderson - May 6th, 2014 at 1:35 PM
This day is always a little bitter sweet for me. As a teacher in an inner city school I am often given a pen or a piece of candy on this day...Not a single student had said thank you today. So thank YOU for this.
Annie - May 6th, 2014 at 6:28 PM
As a pediatric OT, I'm with you! But, please know that what YOU are doing is so, so appreciated by those of us that can only begin to imagine what you deal with daily. I'm completely awed and amazed by inner city school teachers. And I bet those mamas, when they get half a chance to consider it, appreciate what you're trying to do, too!
Bev - May 7th, 2014 at 12:15 AM
One of my 'special needs' kiddos came in yelling, "I heard today is teacher appreciation day! Here's a cracker!" Then he handed me a cracker from his little pack - and from his heart. I couldn't have wanted anything more. This is why I teach. And for the paycheck. Albeit a tiny one.
Kate - May 6th, 2014 at 1:40 PM
I am blessed to be both a teacher's wife and a teacher's daughter, and this means the world to me! I am unrelentingly proud of my mom and my husband, and it is so wonderful and encouraging to know other people "get it" and appreciate them like I do. Thank you, Jen!
Jennifer - May 6th, 2014 at 1:43 PM
Gift cards??? What are those?! Thanks for this beautiful post, Jen, because this is the only appreciation many of us teachers will be getting. Apparently, middle school students no longer believe in giving gifts or even "thanks" for that matter. Your wishes are all some of us will be getting this week
Lesley - May 6th, 2014 at 2:29 PM
Same goes for high school...the gifts and appreciation are definitely not *why* we teach, but it is nice to feel appreciated every once in a while. Thanks for your blog, Jen.
Kristin - May 6th, 2014 at 3:32 PM
Oh so true....and after spending the week getting Teacher Appreciation Gifts (they sent home a list of expectations) ready for my elementary schooler's teachers, it's painfully ironic to sit in MY classroom and realize none of them know it's "Teacher Appreciation Week."

So thank you, Jen, for this paragraph:
I wish you could hear all the good things our kids say about you at home. They are singing your song %u2018round these parts. We know every funny story you%u2019ve ever told, every interesting teaching approach, every good and loving thing you%u2019ve ever said, and every memorable moment you%u2019ve created. My children think you know everything and we know nothing. If it comes out of your mouth, it is the gospel truth. Please tell our kids to get a job this summer.

Because if it's true of even ONE student, it's appreciation enough. So thanks for taking the time to say it. :)
Jo - May 6th, 2014 at 2:02 PM
I have the good fortune to work with an entire staff of wonderful teachers and administrators who truly pour their hearts into their work every single day! No one who works in "the real world" has any idea just how much time, worry, dedication, and love go into our teachers' work every single day! They are amazing!
Julie - May 6th, 2014 at 2:03 PM
Wow! You nailed it. Thank you for UNDERSTANDING!
Staci - May 6th, 2014 at 2:04 PM
Love love love! ROFLOL! Bring on the Chili's GC
Pat Jones - May 6th, 2014 at 2:14 PM
What an absolutely beautiful article! Thank you from a veteran teacher, now in my 31st year, still trying to make learning creative and fun.
Heather - May 6th, 2014 at 2:08 PM
Don't forget professors, too! Those of us who teach in higher education get the wonderful and grave privilege of watching these children magically turn into young adults in four-ish short years. We see how hard it is for Moms and Dads to start to let go, and applaud those who are brave enough to do it well. I get to see first hand the fits and starts of a young one trying out her wings for the first time, sometimes to crash and burn, and sometimes to soar. I get to pray over these lives, mostly in secret since I'm at a public institution, but on occasion with a tenderhearted one who is seeking to make her faith her own, and not just something passed on by her parents. I see boys become men before my very eyes. Some of them go crazy in their new found freedom, of course, and many times it's the professors that see it happening before their families do. We worry and check in on them, asking them how they are doing and really wanting honest answers. We set standards that are just enough out of reach to make them have to stretch to get there, and in the process teach them they are really capable of more than they think. And yes, there are professors who don't care, but in my experience they are so rare as to be an endangered species. Most of us love your kids fiercely and would go to bat for them any day of the week to help them get a good job after graduation, succeed on a test or project, and lead them to be knowledgeable, competent, and kind. We'll bring the hammer down when needed to challenge them to be better. Get to know your kids professors. These are the people who will be shaping their young adulthood in many important ways. I can't usually get specific with parents about how their kids are doing because of policy that is in place to help the kids grow up, but I love to tell parents how proud I am of my students, and why they should be proud of them, too. I love to get to know more about where my students came from, which helps me to know more about their perspective and how I can get through to them in the tough times. Be an ally with me. I'm fighting against the darkness on college campuses that threatens to steal their very souls. I could use the support, too. Wow, that was really long. Now I need to go grade some finals.
Heather - May 6th, 2014 at 3:05 PM
Thank you, from the Mom of a young man well on his way to your type of institution. I still need him, and I hope he still needs me, But he will, FOR SURE, need professors like you!
P.S. You have a lovely name! ;)
Melissa - May 6th, 2014 at 7:13 PM
You sound like one of the amazing college professors I was fortunate to have at my small college. You really do make a lasting impact!
Beverly - May 7th, 2014 at 8:19 AM
I still remember the impact my professors of 40 years ago made on my life. You are appreciated, and most of us are better people, not only because of what we learned in college, but also because of the professors who cared. Thanks from all of us who ever went to college!!!!
Dr. Jana Craft - May 7th, 2014 at 8:40 PM
I was thinking the same thing, heather. I definitely go to bat for my college students. The good ones spend a lot of time and energy advising as well as teaching and writing. It doesn't stop after high school. In fact, I think it's even more difficult.
Dolores - May 6th, 2014 at 2:11 PM
Thank you so much:) Amen to all of the above!
Justina - May 6th, 2014 at 2:20 PM
Ahhh... as I sit here eating my lunch after administering day two of standardized tests, I can only say, "Thanks for writing this!" I love teaching, I do, but sometimes it is overwhelming!! Knowing that at least one person "gets it" and put voice to it helps. So, thanks!
Allison - May 6th, 2014 at 2:20 PM
I am one of those Texas teachers you speak of. I could not appreciate your obvious devotion to teachers or your ability to see who we really are any more!! I teach in a really rough school in Houston and I don't know that the parents of my students appreciate me the way you do- someone who gets what it's like to be around 8th graders all day long. I appreciate you for the way you motivate and love on teachers. Thanks a million, Jen!!
Rachel - May 6th, 2014 at 2:21 PM
Thank you so much! This was incredibly encouraging to me and many others, I'm sure.
Ashley - May 6th, 2014 at 2:35 PM
Thank you for writing this! And trust me when I say, we are all thankful for parents like you. Thanks for getting it! "You win the universe"... Still laughing. Love ya!
Brenda Debor - May 6th, 2014 at 2:36 PM
And for the love of all that is sacred please don't buy your teacher an apple coffee mug. Trust me, she has 90.
Katie May - May 6th, 2014 at 2:39 PM
Love, love, love this!
Erin - May 6th, 2014 at 2:40 PM
I could not love this entry more. As a special education teacher of over 12 years and now a parent of a child with special needs who has MANY on his team of educators and therapists- this entry made me smile so big. And you mentioned the meal at Chilis that I could eat for breakfast lunch and dinner. YUM!
christina - May 6th, 2014 at 2:43 PM
Dying over here. This is great! I am a teacher and a parent and my kids swear that I know nothing..."please tell my kids to get a job this summer". I love it!
Becky - May 6th, 2014 at 2:43 PM
I would be floored if I got even one Chili's gift card! High school is rough, y'all. But I SO appreciate Jen's comments. I hope my love for reading and writing really does pass along to a few of my students. What I DO know is that my prayers make a difference in their lives. It's a joy to be their intercessor :-)
Karla - May 6th, 2014 at 2:56 PM
This brought tears to my eyes. A very timely message. My heartfelt thanks.
marian - May 6th, 2014 at 3:08 PM
From the bottom of my heart Thank you for hearing and putting into words what I wish many would know....Then maybe we would be respected a little more....thank u thank u thank u.....
Rochelle - May 6th, 2014 at 3:14 PM
Jen, as always, I love your voice. You nailed it exactly. I have taught at the elementary level for 18 years now, and profess that it has been the most rewarding career. Love my students dearly. Thanks for the well-wishes and laughter! Oh, and 7 was awesome!
Jenny - May 6th, 2014 at 3:30 PM
Awww...feelin the love over here in VA!
EKT - May 6th, 2014 at 3:40 PM
I wrote a letter to the principal telling him how great our teacher was this year. She was new to our school, and I thought that might be more valuable to her than any gift card.
Lani - May 6th, 2014 at 3:43 PM
Thank you so much for writing this! It was a much needed mental *hug* for me after a tough day and rough newspaper articles bringin me down!
Courtney - May 6th, 2014 at 3:48 PM
Love this! I am an elementary teacher and it's nice to read something positive about teachers. So often, I am reading comments from "dumb dumbs" that just don't get it and blame teachers for everything that is wrong in their lives. Thanks for sharing!
Sara - May 6th, 2014 at 3:52 PM
Jen Hatmaker you are the best! You're welcome and I can't think of a thing I'd rather be doing! I needed to see this today...in May...when these hoodlums are driving me batty! Love it!
Stacy Bogle - May 6th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Thank you from a middle school teacher who just finished "active-monitoring" during a testing silence so deep, I could hear the sound of my own hair growing. My mind is a blank slate, my feet are aflame and I now have the IQ of a french fry after hours of watching to make sure each child follows testing protocol and yet--at the same time--I was to make sure that I didn't actually READ any portion of the test. Or view the answers. Or the lack of answers. It doesn't matter, because the script does not allow for me to address anything they screw up on and even if they do, it will be my fault after all is said and done. Also? I watched while kids tested for three and half hours and I had no bathroom break. None. And when I said something about it later, you would have thought I was asking for a flying unicorn ride to the moon. You will never be able to convince those hammerheads at the state level that public school teachers aren't the laziest bunch of overpaid mammals that ever drew breath. God bless you for trying, though.
Jeff - May 6th, 2014 at 8:35 PM
Hear your hair...now that's funny...and a flying unicorn...I would love to had been in your class!!
Henrietta Garcia - May 6th, 2014 at 4:05 PM
I was laughing and tearing at the same time! My husband has been teaching Elementary for 37 years. He loves the kids as much today as he did his first year of teaching. God bless you for putting into words what I always hope his children's parents are thinking. If parents only knew how much work goes into one single day of teaching their children. It is a profession that I feel only a very special group of people can pull off. Thank you, Thank you, for recognizing these wonderful angels.
Jessica - May 6th, 2014 at 4:11 PM
THANK YOU so much for your thoughtfulness in writing this!!!! This is beyond encouraging to us teachers. Thank you for recognizing our hard work and being one of those AMAZING, supportive parents out there! I am sharing this with all my fellow teachers.
Vikki - May 6th, 2014 at 4:48 PM
Thank you! I am a 6 th grade science teacher and yours is the only teacher appreciation I received. It does my heart good to hear that teachers there are appreciated.
geographylady - May 6th, 2014 at 4:54 PM
I meant to email you at the end of last year, and tell you what a fine young man your child is growing up to be, but because I am a bad teacher I didn't ever get around to it. So I am posting it here - he's a great kid. He did an awesome job of leading his rather recalcitrant group to a passing grade on their final project. Thank you and your husband for showing him the way.
Anna C - May 6th, 2014 at 9:54 PM
oh my goodness, how sweet of you to post this here so we can all read it!
Heather - May 6th, 2014 at 5:18 PM
Bless you. I'm sitting here with actual tears in my eyes praying that the parents of the kids in my classroom think like you.
Alison - May 6th, 2014 at 5:26 PM
Wow- thank you for your words of blessing and encouragement!
sarah - May 6th, 2014 at 5:27 PM
I agree with this article but it's STAAR - State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, not STARR. Nobody else caught that?
Jenipher - May 8th, 2014 at 9:32 AM
Ummm, it says STAAR.
Elizabeth - May 6th, 2014 at 5:35 PM
From a Kindergarten teacher who just left school at 6:00 pm and is now waiting in the dance school parking lot for my own precious girl....thank you. After a day of ACTUALLY administering state-mandated standardized tests to KINDERGARTENERS...as I feel like I just pulled my own teeth....thank you. This blog post was a welcome reminder that I love my school babies like I love my own. And that's why I keep going back....oh, and for the gift cards. :)
Michelle - May 6th, 2014 at 5:38 PM
I'm a teacher. This is my nineteenth year in the classroom. Thank you for this! THIS is all I want. Words mean the world to me and saying thank you sticks with me. Thank you for writing this!! It means a lot!!
Beth - May 6th, 2014 at 5:39 PM
WOW!!! Jen, you are certainly a breath of fresh air!! I truly hope more parents than we think feel this way!! Gifts may be nice, but honest gratitude and appreciation tops the gifts ALWAYS!! THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!! Hoping this is read & reread by my NJ GOVERNOR- who doesn't have a CLUE what we DO, and has no intention of finding out!!!


Emily - May 6th, 2014 at 5:50 PM
Thank you Jen for these words which brought me or tears. I often forget how important my profession is when I'm caught up in all of the politics.
kyla - May 6th, 2014 at 5:50 PM
Thank you. Seriously. Someone who "gets it"... As a teacher with lots of teacher friends... I'm sharing this with them all.
Sara - May 6th, 2014 at 5:51 PM
This is the BEST note of encouragement I've read in a while! You, my friend, "get it". I'm finishing year 21 in elementary and special education. It's a lot different now than when I started. I'm working in special education in an inner city school, and I don't ever get any thanks from the parents. I think it's funny that teacher appreciation is in May. That's the BEST time for it as we're all holding on to our hats for the next 3 weeks, trying to convince our kids that they really do have more learning to do. :) I'm single without kids, and I want to say an extra kudos to my colleagues who go home and do it all over again with their kids. My hat is off to you! I don't know how you do it!!
Dana - May 6th, 2014 at 6:03 PM
Wow!! Thank you! Fortunately, most of us know there will be no accolades for what we do and we are okay with that. Seeing success in young lives every day is a joy many will miss.
Liz - May 6th, 2014 at 6:04 PM
As a teacher, that made me cry. Thank you!
Jam - May 6th, 2014 at 6:05 PM
What?? You get gift cards? We got an email that said tanks educate educate educate
Pearl - May 6th, 2014 at 6:32 PM
Wow, thank you for reminding me why I get up in the morning! And I love Quesadilla explosion salads!! I've never heard of getting GIFT CARDS, but a bagels were available to shove down our gullets before the minute bell...
Wendy - May 6th, 2014 at 6:42 PM
I like letters that say why they are thankful, that's why I name then write them to their teachers. It's a wonderful thing to hang on to.
Anne - May 6th, 2014 at 6:55 PM
Thank you so much for the affirmation of why I do what I do! Love this!
Sonya - May 6th, 2014 at 7:01 PM
1. ________ welcome! I am humbled.
A. Your
B. You're
Emily - May 14th, 2014 at 8:26 PM
This is awesome.
Lisa - May 6th, 2014 at 7:19 PM
I heart you, Jen Hatmaker!! Thank you for taking the time to give teachers everywhere that extra "boost" of encouragement and true understanding!
Shari - May 6th, 2014 at 7:22 PM
As a Classroom Assistant, we are often used in the classroom when teachers have meetings and conferences in can't get a substitute. We help in classrooms all over the school, every grade level... Pre-k thru 5th. I have been at my school for 10yrs.,coming upon the close of another school year I will be sad to see our 5th graders leave as I saw them come in as pre-k or kindergarteners I consider kids I work with daily "my kids" just as any teacher in a classroom. I love my job, I love the teachers and staff I work with and I love the kids. I will be excited to start another year in August.
Joy - May 6th, 2014 at 7:25 PM
From a 27 year teaching veteran - 21 years in first grade - thank you for your kind words. Made my Teacher Appreciation Week!
Tonya - May 6th, 2014 at 7:37 PM
When we go into the field of teaching, we know what we're getting into. We do this because we love kids and we can't imagine doing anything else. You get it and that means the world to us! Thank you!!
Joy - May 6th, 2014 at 8:02 PM
Thank you for this. I am blessed to be shown appreciation from my students and parents. Wow, your children are just now taking their state tests. In PA we had to take our PSSA's in the middle of MARCH!!!!!!!! More than 2 months before the end of the school year. Yeah, that helps to show everything they have learned in the year----not!
Mary - May 14th, 2014 at 7:52 PM
Wow Kendra, way to pop my bubble. I cried reading this beautiful and true tribute, then came to your narrow minded comment and poof! Everything she lovingly tries to protect us from, BOOM! Another bashing when and where we least expect it. Just gotta kick, do you?
kendra - May 6th, 2014 at 8:07 PM
Ok I am going to go out on a limb and take another stance. I really understand that teachers get very little pay for all that they do. They end up having to be a lot more than just a teacher. What I grow weary of is all the public whining about it. There are a LOT of thankless, low paying, emotionally draining jobs out there that a lot of people do day in and day out. You don't hear firefighters, police officers, counselors, social workers, nurses complaining all the time about a career THEY CHOSE. If teachers really are unhappy, please choose another career path that will fullfill and give you what you are looking for and give everybody else a break from the endless complaining and needs for pats on the back all the time. It would be a nice change to open up facebook and a teacher posts "Despite the challenges teachers face, I am so happy I have this job, after all I took it because I love kids"
Sarah - May 6th, 2014 at 9:59 PM
I agree. If the teacher is unhappy then maybe they need a different job. I think to myself once a day at least why did I ever choose this career path then one student gets something or say something and makes my day. I go home at night and thank The Lord for my students and how blessed I am to be able to make a difference in their lives and how much they make me evaluate my life. I am thankful for my students and what they do. That is why I teach. It is so nice to hear that people appreciate teachers so much but I don't do it to be recognized or to get presents. I do it for the joy it brings me in my life no matter how much work it is.
Pat - May 7th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Then again, the firefighters, police officers, counselors, social workers, nurses are provided with the items they need to do their job - teachers spend more of their paychecks on buying supplies for their classroom than they spend on their on family! I get $175 at the beginning of the year to purchase supplies for the year, then I spend anywhere from $2000-3,000 a year from my own pocket to buy not just snacks that my students parents can't afford or won't send in but BASICS like paperclips, copy paper, pens, and pencils for goodness sake! Having worked in the "real world" prior to my mid-life switch to teaching special needs students I know of no other job that does not supply the very basics. Yet we continue to do our job because to us it is NOT a job but a true calling, so forgive us if after a hard day and we are tired but we realize we can't afford to go out to eat - that we whine a little about the size of our paycheck. I think any teacher that is really unhappy with their job does get out of the business within a year or two. All the teachers I work with ARE happy to have a job despite it's challnges!
E. S. - May 7th, 2014 at 12:57 PM
I'll pray for you!
Marie - May 7th, 2014 at 1:14 PM
I totally agree that those other professions are underappreciated. However, society, the media, and legislators do not denigrate them on a regular basis as they do teachers. As a twenty-year special education teacher, I've seen an enormous change in public opinion of teachers through my career. Yes, teachers do CHOOSE their profession but that doesn't mean that it isn't hard to hear the consistent criticism of their chosen profession. The under-appreciation of other professions does not lessen the under-appreciation of teachers. Most teachers I know are happy and chose to stay in the profession, despite all this, because they love what they do. The "public whining" as you note is, in my opinion, due to their frustration.
Marie - May 8th, 2014 at 1:08 PM
Kendra I work in the schools, have for 38 years. I am not a teacher I am a Therapist. I chose to work in the schools and I really Love what I do. I chose my career, the schools chose me. There are many teachers that truly love what they do, there are also those that do not. You are so right, if other people complained as much as the Teaching staff, well they do not. All I can say is if you get up in the morning dreading your job.......CHANGE IT PLEASE.
Kelly - May 8th, 2014 at 3:44 PM
Kendra... First, it's obvious you've never been a teacher. Second, every position you've listed (albeit possibly the social worker) makes considerably more than teachers, most get paid overtime for additional hours worked, there is no expectation of volunteering your free time, does not have to pay out of pocket for supplies, is not evaluated by the others' performance, have better retirements for those fields which are public employees, and generally, receive more respect by the public at large. Third, it's not whining if teachers speak out. You too would speak out (it's obvious too; you're a very opinionated person) if you thought you deserved respect & wanted much needed to change to field or profession or people you cared for so deeply. 10% of every profession may be better suited in another, but this is not 10% of teachers pleading for these changes... It's more like the 90% who care. So many make criticisms of teachers, tell them to "get out" if they speak out for change, but if people ran the world as you suggest... We'd have little in the way of commitment, community, tencacity, and progress... Something every society should value... Or has that gone the way of the Dodo bird too? Are you another slave? Have you bought into the world of corporate culture like so many others... Shut up, sit down, don't complain, or get the hell out of here? Ummm, I wonder. Sorry, I want better for my fellow teachers, my students, my children, and yes, even for you Kendra.

Jen.... Thank you. A thousand times over. Thank you.
Merle - May 15th, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Kendra,
Thank a teacher for the ability you have to insult them all. You wrote a very detailed missive about your feelings. Who taught you grammar? Who taught you spelling? Who taught you sentence construction? The people who taught you these skills are the same ones you are insulting. Thank them they did a great job. After you are done thanking them, ask them if they got paid overtime for staying after class to correct your mistakes. What do you do for a living? Did you learn to do your job without the help of a teacher? Do you get paid overtime? I think not.
Margie - May 20th, 2014 at 3:58 PM
Kendra, I know a lot of stay at home moms who can afford to do so (not luxuriously, mind you) because their police office and fire fighter husbands make OVERTIME! Just yesterday a fellow mom mentioned to me that she couldn't wait to get her husband off the injured list (or whatever it's called) so he can start earning some overtime again. She's got big summer plans for her family (including a trip to Hawaii) and needs the extra cash. Sure, I get about 6 weeks off during the summer, but I certainly can't afford to take my family to Hawaii and we're a two income family!
TieceyKaye - May 27th, 2014 at 5:35 PM
You know, most of us teachers signed onto the "job" (which becomes more of a lifestyle than a job) because we love to teach, we're very good at it, and we love our students. None of us signed on to go into politics! We love our jobs; we hate being criticized in the public eye, we hate dealing with the daily drama of certain families, and we hate that we depend on hand-me-downs and scholarships for our kids, and on food banks for our families.
Cathy - May 6th, 2014 at 8:23 PM
Thank you, Jen! I am a 29th year 1st grade teacher. It warms my heart to see someone like you giving us such recognition.....it is SO appreciated!
My late husband logged my hours for 1 school year-NOT including any meetings, seminars, training, PTA functions, shopping for classroom needs or planning, meetings, classes, etc. during the summer. My average week was 67.5 hours. That was 10 years ago-my week is surely no shorter now.
Thank you for noticing and telling others.......yes, it IS for the joy the kids bring every day!
Mari - May 6th, 2014 at 8:30 PM
Wow. Teachers have really fallen since I was a kid. Back in the day, teachers were never treated like they were every child's personal Savior. When the heck did gift cards become standard practice as a way to show appreciation for a teacher? What happened to hand written cards with a school picture tucked inside and maybe (if you have a super overachieving mom) a plate of brownies or cookies? What has happened to teachers that they NEED someone like Jen Hatmaker to write up this pseudo-emotional garbage to make them all feel better? If teachers hate their jobs so much that they just NEED this (plus a gift card), then maybe they shouldn't be teaching.

Whatever happened to that incredible feeling that comes from listening to a small child reading for the first time? Whatever happened to the satisfaction of witnessing that lightbulb moment when a student finally gets it after trying for so long? What about the joy you feel when a student confides in you that they are so grateful that YOU are their teacher? What about the love that teachers have for their students? why isnt that enough anymore? Sure, there are days that teaching can suck. But every job has those days, why are we hero worshipping teachers?

What about Military appreciation week (here, they get a day if they are lucky)? Why not fire fighter appreciation week (as far as I know, they might get a random day where ONE class will make cards for them after said class has been to a station to visit)? How about police officer appreciation week (haven't ever heard of police visiting a school just for fun)?

Why do teachers need an entire week filled with gift cards, and candles, and massages, and catered lunches? Why are teachers being made to be these martyred heroes and saints?

I've never been one to care about secularizing schools, but in the case of Saint Teacher worship, I say religion and school shouldn't mix!


slloug - May 6th, 2014 at 9:13 PM
Mari honey? You're not a teacher, right?
Caite - May 6th, 2014 at 10:10 PM
You are aware that this is a personal blog, not a required reading? If you don't agree with or enjoy the reading you can just click off the page. Everyone enjoys being appreciated, there is no need for negativity.
Tray - May 6th, 2014 at 10:33 PM
There's always one.
Hjohnson - May 7th, 2014 at 11:55 AM
I would say what happened to all of the "incredible feeling that comes from listening to a small child reading for the first time" or "the satisfaction of witnessing that lightbulb moment" is that many local, state, and federal agenices arrived on the scene...teaching is not what it once was. As with all things, it has evolved, and many of teachers don't even get the opportunity to sit down and read one-on-one with a student because they are busy administering tests, satisfying the requirements set forth by people who really have no idea what goes on within a classroom, or dealing with a student who is so disruptive but his/her parent(s), guardian, or whomever he or she may be living with this week will do nothing to alleviate the problem.

I am not a teacher, but I have a DEEP appreciate for them. As a sister of a 2nd year teacher who works her behind off every single day, I think teachers face many more challenges today than they did even 10 years ago. I would not be the person I am today without the many, many teachers who poured their time and energy into me.

All of those people you mentioned should be appreciated. Anyone who serves deserves to be appreciated and thanked. I pray daily for all of those who serve in all capacities. Perhaps, you could thank those people you mentioned. I am sure you would make their week.
Jennifer - May 7th, 2014 at 2:07 PM
Uuummm... in answer to the first paragraph -- What happened?? Well, standardized testing for 5 weeks straight happened, horrible parents who yell at you when their child fails a test happened, more work for less pay and NO raises in 7 years happened, a crappy soceity who blames teachers for everything happened.

As for the other appreciation weeks, check your facts. They exist. We have all of those.

And for the record, MOST of us don't get gifts for teacher appreciation week so a simple thank you from a random blogger DOES mean a lot to most of us.
Name - May 8th, 2014 at 10:35 AM
AMEN! I have not received a single call/card/gift in the three years that I have been teaching. As a speech-language pathologist in an elementary school, I have 50 students and have only met approximately 10 of them! Mind you, we have three meetings a year where the parents are requested/required to attend/participate. A little recognititon from my fellow teachers and administrators - yes, even this amazing blogger, is all I get and at this time in the year. It is much appreciated!
Lindsey - May 9th, 2014 at 1:58 PM
I'm a school based SLP as well and we rarely get gifts or any kind of recognition. We are very much forgotten by most parents.
LM - May 9th, 2014 at 8:25 PM
Hey, Mari! Your child's name is Kaitlin-Grace, right? Better check out that theatre program. The one you were enrolled in will get her famous in no time. TROLLZ of the Internet Academy, yes? Awesome drama brought to the interwebz. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

You are obviously not a teacher, but you are smelling very much like the ever-drama-causing parent whose child's teacher (who doesn't get paid overtime for countless hours unlike all those professions you listed above) is never good enough.

Jen - a very awesome post. Way to spread the positivity! Thank you!!
OPM - May 10th, 2014 at 12:23 PM
I've taught middle school students for 40 years in public and private schools. What has happened is we are now dealing with two generations - the parents and their children - of enabled, me-first individuals to whom no rules apply. Forty years ago, when a student was asked to leave my class for being rude and disruptive, I had the full support of his father, who said, "Just let me know if you have any further problems with him!" I never did. Today, the parents accuse the teachers first - it's never the child's fault. Parents no longer parent. Classes have grown bigger and the range of academic ability within the classes is beyond comprehension. I return to teaching every year because I am still passionate about what I teach and am rewarded by the progress the students make. No one goes into or stays in teaching for the salary, so a note of thanks and appreciation from a parent or a student goes a long way. I have hung on to every single one and enjoy looking at them from time to time. I've been in my current private school for 26 years. About 20 years ago, the Parents Association began putting on a lovely teacher appreciation luncheon to which parents gave fabulous dishes-to-pass. While we relaxed over incredibly tasty food in the gym with white tablecloths on the tables, other parents took our lunch /hall/playground duties. If a parent chooses to give me a gift card to a restaurant, Starbucks, or Barnes & Noble at the end of the year, I am, of course, appreciative and grateful. Do I expect it? Of course not.
mc - May 14th, 2014 at 6:00 PM
None of the positive things that you have listed above have disappeared. It is the constant testing and constant berating we teachers take from the public and the gov't stating that we are not doing our jobs, based on these ridiculous test scores that is bothersome to us. We do it all, and with energy and concern. WE just do not like how we are perceived as the "end all" and the "be all". We are only humans who care for the other humans we are teaching, but we are not the answer to every problem that comes into the classroom. Yes, we can make a difference, and we do. What is hard is to work really hard, and then be told we are not doing enough. Especially when the students have so many other influences and factors in their lives that we cannot do anything about. The "tests" do not show all that we do for our students, yet we are judged by them. We are not complaining, only responding to public complaining. Of course there are other thankless jobs. None of us are asking to be worshipped. However, since we spend so much time doing for your children what you cannot, choose not, or would rather not do for them, it is only fair that we are recognized for it once in a while. Many of us are giving all we have on a daily basis to America's children, only to go home and pull from our very core, just a little bit more strength to do something for our own children. I always appreciated what some other teacher did for my children, while I was out there sacrificing and working, giving the best part of my day to other children, perhaps even yours.
Agk - May 14th, 2014 at 9:02 PM
Yes.
Thank you Jen and to all those standing up to the bullies. It seems that some people commenting have forgotten that they probably have a teacher or two to thank for being a part of their lives.
JanH - May 15th, 2014 at 11:12 PM
Hero worshipping teachers?!? I'm sorry...who does that?!? Give me a break...people do these things because they probably feel sorry for us...no overtime, going in on Saturday's to "catch up" on paperwork or write 5 IEP's for the next week. Gee, in other countries, they actually listen to and respect the teacher...both parents and children. How insulting!! Maybe they appreciate us teaching children to read, write, behave, not crawl under the table, tie their shoes, say please and thank you, wipe their noses...shall I go on?!?

Marianne - May 17th, 2014 at 9:42 AM
I guess it depends upon where you teach. In my little impoverished school, I do not get gift cards. Occasionally, a student makes me a card - which I love. One of the best things I have received in 6 years was last week when a parent said, "I don't know what you did with her but she comes home and she likes math and she knows she can do it now. She doesn't hate it anymore." I can go for weeks on a compliment like that.
Iluv2teach - May 20th, 2014 at 11:04 AM
Mari...I feel sorry for you! I'm guessing you aren't a teacher and don't have kids?
Jennifer - May 28th, 2014 at 11:20 PM
Mari, I think you definitely should spend a week or two shadowing a teacher since you obviously don't know what teaching involves.
I thought I'd give myself a little break and check out this website that my friend told me about. It's quite ironic to me that I'm sitting here at home working on report cards, end of the year paperwork, and making labels for books for my students. So I just have to laugh at your idiotic reply!
Brandi - May 6th, 2014 at 8:32 PM
Thank you. Especially for "we see you." It is like an arrow straight to my heart. Also, for the overseeing our own kids homework. How many research papers should a 15 year old boy have to write during the last three weeks of school and why do I, the elementary ESL teacher, have to edit them? Bless.
Erin - May 6th, 2014 at 8:37 PM
I am a teacher. A very tired and discouraged teacher who is nonetheless passionate about inspiring young people. But it's getting harder and harder. Which is why your tribute literally just moved me to tears. Thank you.
Karla - May 6th, 2014 at 10:03 PM
You took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you.
Susan - May 7th, 2014 at 8:46 PM
Erin,
Praying for God's strength and energy to fill you now. The Lord sees what you are doing and enduring and He is watching your pile of crowns in Heaven grow day by day. Stay at it, friend. I always loved school and especially teachers who had passion. Kids see that and get it.
Susan
Meg - May 6th, 2014 at 8:39 PM
Love, love, love reading this...and the one last year. I've been a teacher for over 10 years and honestly, my best reward (other than the kids, obviously) is hearing from folks like you who are advocating for our hard work. Thanks for your kind and supportive words. (Side note, shot girls do actually have to buy their alcohol. But they still make more than us. :) )
Diane - May 6th, 2014 at 8:45 PM
Best.ever. Thank you, Jen Hatmaker. "Bread products and cheese"! OUTSTANDING!
Debbie - May 6th, 2014 at 8:50 PM
I am a elementary school secretary and mom of a wonderful teacher in Texas and Jen, you hit the nail on the head! Teachers are an incredible group of people and our future is so safe in these caring and capable hearts. Kendra, you missed the point. Most of them did choose this career because of what's in their hearts and not because of the financial reward. That said, there are still frustrations because of so many differing opinions on what works best in education. I have heard it said so many times that they would love to just teach without all the policies and procedures that don't have a direct impact on the success of their students. I love the teachers at my school and I am so happy to be working with such great people. My daughter and all of these awesome teachers do deserve a pat on the back and so much more. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Melissa - May 6th, 2014 at 8:52 PM
Thankful for this. Came home with years in my eyes today after a long, long day. In which I got literally coughed on by a child, in my face. Arrived home to an extra middle schooler who my dear son invited over for three hours till church group
starts. Thus delaying my chance to indulge in a hot bath and glass of wine at 5pm. This post made my night.
Melanie - May 6th, 2014 at 8:55 PM
Thank you. You get it. Thank you.
Lauren - May 6th, 2014 at 9:34 PM
From a teacher, THANK YOU...
Laura D. - May 6th, 2014 at 9:39 PM
As a teacher (and an elementary one at that... first grade), I want to thank you for this post!! It absolutely MADE my night!!! So many of these are SOOO spot on!! (I also have four children- meaning my biological children- at home that keep me on my toes.)
You don't know how many times at school I've repeated, "Child of God, Child of God" under my breath or had to put that picture in my head of a little baby boy surrounded by partying parents and friends in a room full of smoke- crying in a soiled diaper -no one going to pick him up to remind myself when I think I can't do it anymore, that indeed I can. Not everyone came to me from the same experiences, but I do hope they all leave knowing that they are loved (by me) and indeed a child of God.
You're awesome!!! Thanks!
Laura D.
From the Mitten!
Carrie - May 6th, 2014 at 9:44 PM
May this message spread like wildfire! Thanks for getting it!
whowillreallycare - May 6th, 2014 at 9:48 PM
STARR? In our part of Texas, it is STAAR.... Enough said for the writer. Don't get me wrong. It is a very good article but a writer needs to read and re-read what they have written before they publish it. Yes, I am a sped teacher and I am sure you can and will find some mistakes in what I have written! lol.
Bob - May 7th, 2014 at 9:04 PM
Wow. Way to nitpick and really miss the point of the entire thing. Must be a joy in your class.
Celina - May 7th, 2014 at 10:12 PM
Haha...you took the words right out of my mouth, Bob! Oh wait...I hope I didn't spell anything wrong or whowillreallycare will publicly criticize me!
Lindsey - May 8th, 2014 at 8:01 AM
Glad I'm not the only one thinking this way. Let's show a little grace to Jen over what is most likely a typographical error. She is obviously a huge fan and supporter of teacher, probably because she used to be one. And I am in special education too, and I often find errors in my writing during my IEP meetings. Thankfully my parents don't point those out to me. :)
Lynette - May 9th, 2014 at 12:43 PM
Really? That is what you noticed? It's an acronym that looks like a misspelled word, because the Texas legislature has to be clever. I'll bet you correct people's pronunciation of TEKS, also, don't you?
Karyn McNicoll - May 6th, 2014 at 10:25 PM
EXCELLENT!! Everything I have wanted to say, but my flowers, gifts and meager attempts at praise have fallen short. I wish every teacher feels the praise and gratitude I feel for every sacrifice made for my children. There is one point you didn't mention. And I hate to have to bring it up, but the times we are living in make it necessary. Our teachers/staff and educators have and will put our kid's lives above their own in the instant of a tragedy and do everything in their possibility to keep them safe from harm. IMHO this post even out shines your epic achievement of last yrs. gem of sweet Ben Franklin and Candy Bar about me. Thanks for so eloquently saying all I feel.
Tamaira - May 6th, 2014 at 10:25 PM
I used to know those gift cards, flowers, and appreciation cards. In my new district, I'm happy if the kids make it to class. A truly different appreciation.
Dana Riley - May 6th, 2014 at 10:30 PM
I've been a teacher for 24 years. I've taught kindergarten, first, and second grade. Never have I had this kind of thanks and understanding of what we all do. All those thank you's right back atcha!!
Chelsey - May 6th, 2014 at 10:47 PM
Amen! As a teacher, I'd hug your neck if I could!!!
Jamie - May 6th, 2014 at 10:55 PM
Love.This.
Ms J - May 6th, 2014 at 11:04 PM
Favorite line: "make confetti out of that STAAR test" . . . . oh if only we could! Chili's gift cards are quite the splurge because Sonic and Chik-fil-a are the norm here. A teacher can live quite awhile off a good compliment, so thank you for your writing.
Judy - May 6th, 2014 at 11:10 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your kids, all kids, are why we do what we do. But MAN it's nice to feel appreciated!!!
Debbie - May 6th, 2014 at 11:32 PM
Thank you from a kindergarten teacher!!
Sam - May 6th, 2014 at 11:33 PM
Totally agreed! Teachers are the lifeblood of our future. Here's to teachers everywhere! This song is dedicated to anyone working on the front lines with the children of our nation. Turn up the volume & rock it out on your way to work tomorrow! http://youtu.be/RelL-PdcCSk
Melisa Su'esu'e - May 7th, 2014 at 12:23 AM
I agree 100% with every single word that you said! I'm a teacher's aide and I see all that you wrote in here....and more! I even know a certain someone who can squeeze out tears when needed and should be in drama! Lol. I will search through your blogs now to look for more truth and laughter.
Teachers for President!!!! They need a raise, but for now.....gift cards and treats will do!
Megan Montague - May 7th, 2014 at 12:57 AM
Miss Jen, you have done it again. Bless you for taking our intentions and making them realized.

Our incredible orchestra teacher is retiring after 35 years of touching thousands of lives. She can take a marginalized person, bring them into an elite chamber music group, give them a chance to feel what it's like to be SOMETHING GREAT, and do it time and time again. I would send her roses every day. I would lay my coat and my kids' coats down so her feet don't get wet. I would do anything in my power for her because what she does is so rare and so special, and we cannot even start to give back what she has done for the children of our schools over and over and over and she just keeps doing it better. My gratitude is infinite. I would do a lot, but my darling Aspergers/ADHD daughter wrote this note, which is so much better than anything I could have ever....sometimes a note is everything.

Dear Mrs Hartman,
I am so happy to have been your student for 5 years. Each of those year I have immensely enjoyed orchestra. When people ask me, "What's your favorite class?" I would almost always reply, "Orchestra." And I know you are a major cause of this. You have made all of our orchestra classes fun and engaging. You have made orchestra a fun and safe place to be. I really appreciate your respect and support for all you students and I know I will miss your energy, passion, and good humor. You are one of my most favorite teachers ever and I look up to you as a role model. Thank you, Mrs Hartman, for being such a wonderful teacher and person.

Bless all teachers.
Erika Greer - May 7th, 2014 at 1:10 AM
Thank you for this amazing summary of what the reality should be. And thank you for your words that inspire many of us to keep shaping amazing little human beings.
Suzanne Huber - May 7th, 2014 at 2:35 AM
Thank you. Although I really appreciate the offer to get a Chili's gift card, it is not what my soul needs. I just wanted someone to understand and recognize what it's like on the inside, rather than critique and criticize. I love my job. It is incredibly rewarding. But in order to be prepared to teach each day, to meet the needs of each child I am entrusted with, I work. I work when my children finally fall asleep. I work during car rides on the weekend when my husband drives the family to Costco. I plan my entire weekend around my paperwork and planning. I spend summers researching, planning, creating, revamping, filing, organizing, purchasing, and more. My health suffers. Go to the gym? When? At 4:30 am with less than 5 hours of sleep? My family suffers. There are days I sit in my car crying before I walk on campus to meet my little students. I cry because I miss my own children. I cry because of the internal struggle: to teach the standards or to teach what I know my students need? That struggle of me pushing and shoving developmentally inappropriate material in their face when they just need help learning to read. I cry because it is raining, and that means no bathroom breaks for 4 hours. I cry because (last year) I was assigned 34 kindergarteners in one class with minimal help. I cried because the parents think that is NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE for their children. I cried behind my desk because we sometimes had 68 students in the room with 2 teachers (2 classes shared a room, and our schedules overlapped) trying to make sure they were safe AND teach them academics. Somehow, I came back to it all this year. Maybe I don't know better. But maybe, in the end, I trust that the relationships I am building, and the efforts I give will make a difference. Reading your post has helped me find extra strength to finish my sub plans for tomorrow so I can attend my 11th training day of the school year. Thank you for recognizing. Thank you for acknowledging. Thank you for thanking us.
Pat - May 7th, 2014 at 5:55 AM
Thank you for sharing this. My Uncle, Mom, Sister, and Daughter are/were teachers and every word is so true! :-)
PMT - May 7th, 2014 at 6:12 AM
Thank you for article. :) Visit our site where we are advocating Teacher Appreciation Week all year long!
Pamper My Teacher!
Denise - May 7th, 2014 at 6:38 AM
Your words mean more than you will ever know. Thank you so much. Teaching is our passion. We are blessed to have a job that is also a passion. Not enough people can say that. :)
Jon - May 7th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
As a teacher, I appreciate the message shared in this post, but as a teacher, I also question your salary calculations of 19 cents per hour. Let's say that teachers work an average of 100 hours per week (14 per day 7 days per week) for 52 weeks (the entire year). That would equate to 5200 hours per year and at 19 cents per hour, a teachers yearly salary would be $988. We make slightly more than that, but the acknowledgement of time invested vs compensation paid is appreciated.

That said, I would like to thank you for taking the time to write this post, and the kind words you shared. God bless.
christie - May 8th, 2014 at 8:58 PM
Ummm.....I believe she was simply trying to make a point with the math. She's just trying to say that you are most likely grossly underpaid. Why cant people just appreciate the humor and good will instead of calling her on the carpet about math?
Misti - May 7th, 2014 at 7:07 AM
Thank you, Jen! All of that is so right on! I lost my aunt last week who was a teacher for 30 years, and I know she would have loved this article.
Ms. H - May 7th, 2014 at 7:27 AM
Can your child be in my class next year? :-)
Tara - May 7th, 2014 at 7:29 AM
No mugs. Please, for the love of all that is holy, no mugs. (Teacher's wife and mom of four!)

Cruise, California, cheese and bread? Bring it on!
Lindsey - May 7th, 2014 at 7:55 AM
As the daughter of a retired teacher (elementary the first half of her career and then 8th grade for the second half and now teaches a GED class two days a week; God love her!) and as a public school SLP, Thank You for this hilarious, but oh so true post. Now if only the president and all government officials would read this and take it to heart...
Kitten Guere - May 7th, 2014 at 8:21 AM
Thank you. :)
Beverly - May 7th, 2014 at 8:40 AM
I have taught for 38 years and there are years when I feel more appreciated than others. I was in middle school for 35 years (In elementary school, the teacher can do no wrong. In high school, the students look to their teachers as mentors and sometimes friends. In junior high, it is always about who is going with who, who did what last weekend, etc., and teachers are often forgotten. That does not make them any less important in the lives of children). I am now in high school. A wise woman once told me that you hear from the complainers, but those who really appreciate you rarely tell you what a good job you've done. As a parent, I found this to be true. I never really told teachers how much I appreciated all they did for my daughter. My greatest joys come when I see students from the past who recognize me and tell me the impact I made on their lives. That is even better than a Chili's gift card, and I continually pray that God will help me make a positive impact on all of my students' lives. As I tell my students often, "Math may not be the most important thing you learn in my class this year!!!" Thanks for your beautiful "Wish List for Teachers", Jen. I appreciate it as a teacher, and I really appreciate you speaking out for all parents. I have taught in all kinds of schools, and some parents don't know how to voice appreciation, even when they want to. You did a great job of saying "thanks" for everyone.
Librarian - May 7th, 2014 at 9:39 AM
Gorgeous and hilarious. Thank you. I love this so much. It made me cry while my students are busy finishing up their state standardized test. One of our teachers forwarded me the link for teacher appreciation week. I've been lucky enough to individually read the start and stop directions for all test sections to every student who has showed up late or was absent, so it has been fun times here. "Stop, you have now finished part one of session two of the mathematics assessment. . . Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200."

I am a middle school librarian, and I'm in my last 11 days of teaching before moving on to something new. I know I will desperately miss working with the students and watching them learn and grow. If only that could be the majority of my job . . . They are not aware I'm leaving yet, and it has broken my heart a bit each time they've brought by a drawing, created a new book trailer, stopped me in the hallway to chat books, or asked me to help them find their perfect book. I have no idea who I'm going to talk books with on a daily basis next year, but I'll have to find someone. It seems pretty obvious that I can take the middle school librarian out of the school, but I can't seem to take the middle school librarian out of myself.

I appreciate your kind words towards all teachers. Best. Gift. Ever.
Rea - May 7th, 2014 at 6:44 PM
Dear middle school librarian,

You are my son's favorite person EVER. You've come up with a million and one ways to make new books pique his interest (because Lord knows as his parent/English major/aspiring writer I apparently know NOTHING about good books). When the new books come out with special posters, cards, and other 'extras' that don't go on the shelf with the book, you make his day by giving them to him if he's the first one to ask. (And apparently he's quite often the first to ask, because he knows every book release date for every single series he reads.) When he started middle school he already felt at home because you opened your library once a week during the summer for kids to come check out books. And you gave them popsicles, which rates pretty high in his mind, apparently. I can say for a fact that the place he feels safest in school is the library. You welcome him in, make him feel at home, surround him with ideas. I have no doubt that when he goes on to high school you, just like your elementary school predecessor, will remember his name and ask how he is doing when his younger brother passes through your doors.

So thank you, middle (and elementary) librarians everywhere.
Jennifer - May 9th, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Rea, that was beautiful. I'm a Pre-K through 8th grade librarian and, though I'm so very lucky to be appreciated by my students and other teachers, I know so many librarians who are not, and who are losing their jobs left and right because who needs a librarian when they have an iPad (insert sarcasm here)? Stories like your son's are the little things that mean so much and remind others why we're still so essential in schools.
Jeana - May 7th, 2014 at 9:48 AM
Thank you! As an 8th grade teacher, it's sometimes easy to get lost in the insanity of being surrounded by child-like brains inside adult-sized bodies! So it's nice to hear Thank You... and as the mom of an elementary kiddo, I feel the exact same way about the saints who teach my son!
Your posts never fail to make me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

Kathy Tousignant - May 7th, 2014 at 11:22 AM
I was a homeschool mom for several years and now my kids go to public school. I know teaching isn't easy. I enjoyed teaching my own kids because I could discipline them but today you can't do that at school. I don't know how teachers do it without Jesus! And they have to keep that silent too! Our system is such a mess! Kudos to all the teachers out there. Jen, thanks for helping us appreciate them.

Kelli s. - May 7th, 2014 at 12:30 PM
I read this while on my planning period. After seeing a few students get blamed for something over and over again while I'm pleading their cases to my administrator, I'm near tears. THEN I read this brilliantness! Thank you for seeing us.
Gregg - May 7th, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Feeling blessed by your comments and encouraged to fight the good fight for our kids.
Shelly - May 7th, 2014 at 2:11 PM
Thanks Jen. Now that I have stopped a moment to read another wonderful post...it's back to grading :)
olwen - May 7th, 2014 at 2:13 PM
I echo Gregg above:) Feeling blessed and thankful for being a teacher:)
Thank you, Jen!
Julia - May 7th, 2014 at 3:19 PM
Thank you! Thank You! Thank You ! From East Tennessee, we thank you!!! Every word you wrote could not have been penned any better. All so true!!!! Thank you for recognizing us and every issue stated is one that all teachers would echo! Send it on to all government parties involved in education! Thank you for being our voice!

Julia....shaping the future since 1992!
Sylvia - May 7th, 2014 at 3:24 PM
I have a folder for all the wonderful notes, letters, and pictures of students that my students give me. When I'm having a bad day I look at that folder and it reminds me that there are some students that I am making a difference with.
Name - May 7th, 2014 at 4:58 PM
As a teacher, I can only say......thank you!
Heather Byrd - May 7th, 2014 at 5:14 PM
I read you an awful lot, Jen Hatmaker, and you challenge and inspire and entertain and all that other great stuff. But this is the first time, I'm pretty sure, that you've made me get all misty. I'm a teacher, and I needed to read this today, as I sit at my desk at school after 6:00 because I have a crap load of work still to do and the rest of my family is home together and I just needed to take a little mental internet break and here you are reminding me that people really do recognize that what I do is very hard and requires much from me and my family . . . *sigh* Thank you for knowing and caring and for helping your readers know and care, too. :-) Oh, and btw, I'm also a fellow pastor's wife, adoptive parent, and (wannabe) writer. So I'm usually feelin' ya on multiple levels, as are so many of your other readers. Carry on, sister. :-)
Diane - May 7th, 2014 at 5:16 PM
Am forwarding this to my daughter, who's finishes her first year of college tomorrow. She wants to be a teacher (I could not be prouder!) and I want to show her that, in addition to the awesome kids who will benefit from her expertise and the parents who will love her, she would have some of the world's smartest, dedicated and funny co-workers.
Monica - May 7th, 2014 at 6:25 PM
Thank you so much for this post!!! It means so much
Kim - May 7th, 2014 at 6:25 PM
"Kaitlyn-Grace should join theater." I'm sure a few coaches would agree with that wish as well. Cheers to all!
Jenny - May 7th, 2014 at 6:35 PM
"Let%u2019s call a teacher managing her kid%u2019s science fair project at 7:30pm what it is: a tragedy and impending meltdown. Stop it, universe. She%u2019s done enough." Oh sweet baby Jesus, yes. I savored every bite of my lasagna lunch today. Cause it was one less lunch I had to prepare. Thank you for this!
Kimmer Chapin - May 7th, 2014 at 7:06 PM
God Bless you Jen Hatmaker! As a teacher, wife, and Momma you made my day. Thanks for recognizing all those components that are the reality of being a committed and loving teacher. I love my students and their families, but sometimes wearing so many hats gets to be a heavy burden when so many think being a teacher is a cake walk with lots of vacation time. Still wouldn't trade my choice of a career. I am blessed by all those I have touched!!!
Jeri - May 7th, 2014 at 7:14 PM
Thank you! I am a teacher and just this week I helped my daughter finish one project and today received an email that a school science fair is taking place in two weeks. My job never ends and I am so glad to know that parents appreciate what we do! Thank you for the awesome words!
Kathy - May 7th, 2014 at 7:38 PM
From Louisville, KY teachers (and I think I can speak for all) thank you. I have tears. I LOVE my job.
Loraile - May 7th, 2014 at 8:14 PM
Wow....how sweet. That put tears in my eye reading it. Thank you for the kind words.
Nat - May 7th, 2014 at 8:54 PM
I'm a school counselor, and so that means I also teach, in addition to filling in for our principal, and subbing when the school can't find subs, in addition to teaching guidance classes and making child abuse reports and counseling a bunch of kids whose families don't take them to counseling elsewhere. Tonight I am feeling a bit exhausted, after getting my own 2 children to bed, and I stumbled across this post. Thank you, because even though I am not exactly a "teacher" , I am, and I can tell that you must know some real public school teachers. I think it really speaks to people when they can read about reality when they don't think anyone understands.... so thanks for writing this. Someday I think I might write a book myself about all the reality of the craziness that happens in a public school, changing the names of course, and then publish it, just to see how many people actually believe it all. And I'm just in a K-5 school! I also think that there are so many Christians who are in public schools as a way to serve the children there, yet there are a bunch of Christian people who think they have to home school their children because that's what Christians should do.... So it's all mixed up sometimes how people think. So thank you for praying for those who work in public schools. God knows we need the prayers.
Trish - May 7th, 2014 at 9:01 PM
Thank you Jen. I've witnessed my husband pour his heart and soul into his students over the last 18 years. I'm sure he is appreciated, it's just not expressed very often. I'm also not convinced that his "kids" and their parents REALLY know how passionate he is to see them flourish in life. Your kind words are so appreciated!
Nancy - May 7th, 2014 at 9:02 PM
Printing this out and putting it in our staff lounge for all of our underpaid, overworked teachers to read. It will make their day. : ) Remember when you were feeling like the worst "End of the School Year Parent" this time last year? Well, I am "Worst End of the School Year Teacher". Worn out. Ready to travel. Ready for a shot of tequila....okay, chai latte', because I'm really not a drinker. But some days I think I could become one. Thank you for understanding, cheering us on, and of course making us laugh. And thank you Jesus for getting us this far in the school year!
Jami - May 7th, 2014 at 9:42 PM
Thankyou with all the love in my heart... Your words brought tears to my eyes, and a smile to my heart. This is the best teacher gift ever. God bless you and your family
Tamara - May 7th, 2014 at 9:43 PM
Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Especially at this time of the year, we teachers need encouragement. I teach those students with severe special needs and have often worried about how it can be determined that I am or am not a skilled teacher based on the test score of a student who is unable to speak, read, or write and is actually learning to toilet himself. The gains my students make on a daily basis can never be measured on a test, but it is great to know that parents recognize and appreciate what we do. Thank you again - and with these words ringing in my ears, I can go back refreshed to finish my school year. :)

Wendy S. - May 7th, 2014 at 9:58 PM
So funny! Thanks for the laugh! We (high school teachers) are appreciated every day (sarcasm font-just wanted to use that)! If only parents would believe that their children lie to them and not the teacher, things would be so much easier!! KIDS LIE TO THEIR PARENTS! Thanks for keepin it real!
Heidi - May 7th, 2014 at 10:04 PM
I read the entire message. I could not have said it any better. I am not a teacher and I do not have children, but I do wholeheartedly agree with this message. Thank you for stating what I wish I could have said. Bless all our loving educators.
Jenna - May 7th, 2014 at 10:20 PM
Thank-you! From an exhausted teacher! Love you!
Jen - May 7th, 2014 at 10:33 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a second grade teacher with a second grader and kindergartener of my own at my campus, I am that mom/teacher doing the very homework I assign with my own daughter. Your praises have brought tears to my eyes. On a day when a new appraisal system has been put out in draft form that will undoubtedly drive caring and experienced teachers out of the profession, this has given me something to hold onto- the reason why I do it. I take your Chili's gift card- because my husband is celiac and Chili's has a GF menu- and then enjoy bottomless chips and salsa. Thank you......thank you.
Nonnie - May 7th, 2014 at 11:03 PM
Thank you, thank you--for seeing us, for recognizing that we care so much about other people's children, and for stating it all so eloquently!
RAM - May 7th, 2014 at 11:30 PM
Thanks Jen! As a middle school social worker I get even less love than the teachers. Still I LOVE my job. Your encouragement will get me through these last 4 weeks
Tracy - May 8th, 2014 at 1:50 AM
Thank you Jen. I started to read this during class time and had to stop and wait til I was at home so I could cry in peace.

I am a teacher's aide finishing my teaching degree this year with 3 teens whose homework and moods and tragedies take a lot of management. When I have been dealing with oppositional work refusers all day, dealing with my children's homework refusal is...well, let's just say there's no sympathy to be had from me.

Thank you for noticing all that we do to care for and nuture the precious little people in our classrooms. I may never get paid for the actual time I spend but I wouldn't have it any other way.

More than that you have nailed how I feel about my children's teachers. I love them immensely for all they do to inspire my children to learn and dream and achieve in ways that are meaningful to them.
Laina - May 8th, 2014 at 7:30 AM
Wow! I immediately sent this to all of my fellow teachers who put in the long hours and jam-packed days each and every day. Thank you so much for your eloquence and honesty with your heartfelt words. I sincerely appreciate your concern and understanding. I love what I do and the kids in my room whom I call my own. It's not easy, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Thank you again!
Becky - May 8th, 2014 at 7:43 AM
Wow... I didn't realize how much I actually do until you listed all those things and my thoughts were 'yeah, I do that and that and that' etc... All of these things are just part of my teaching life and beyond. I think about my kiddos and pray for them when I'm not at school because they do become a part of our heart. Most of us do it because we love children and want to make a difference. What a beautiful way to acknowledge our life... because teaching isn't a job and it's not really a career either. It is a calling and a way of life for us.
Sandy - May 8th, 2014 at 7:54 AM
Thank you from a first year high school teacher. I did not know what I was getting into!
Karen B - May 8th, 2014 at 9:16 AM
Jen Hatmaker.... teachers everywhere love you! .... I DO! :) Thanks.... ps... teachers do love gift cards :)
Terri - May 8th, 2014 at 9:50 AM
Wonderful!
Hannah - May 8th, 2014 at 10:26 AM
I am a special education teacher, and this week isn't normally very exciting for me. Parents know who I am and lovingly tell me that they hope we don't ever have to work together. I rarely hear sweet words, but this brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for seeing us. I can push on through the rest of this week knowing that there are people like you who really do get it, and appreciate every little thing we do!

Moe - May 8th, 2014 at 11:34 AM
As a special education teacher, this made me laugh and cry and laugh again.
"Heaven help the ESL kids, those with special needs, the underresourced, the at-risk, the creatives, and the divergent learners." ~~ Those are my babies!
Joni - May 8th, 2014 at 11:34 AM
A parent of one of my students sent this to me to because she said you "said it best" and boy was she right. My students and I are in the computer lab right now and tears have rolled down my face as I read this insightful, compassionate message. Thank you for validating what we do. If all parents felt like you, it would change the education world forever. Teaching is a calling, not a profession, and it is a noble one. The "teacher world" gets that%u2026..thank you for getting it as well, and thank you Jennifer Witcher for making my day.
Nancy Dean - May 8th, 2014 at 2:05 PM
As a Mother of a very talented, compassionate and dedicated Teacher of third grade students for many years, plus also being a single mom to her two teenagers and all of their needs, it really did make my heart sing to read your statement! I am often telling my daughter to slow down and try to relax before she literally melts down into a puddle, however, she pays no heed to my health advice to her. She loves her third grade babies and her two teenagers and never really does anything for herself which continues to be a worry to me and her father. Being an out of state mother & father, we really can't lend a helping hand to assist her with the many requirements two teenagers require. It's like a merry-go-round that never ends. Truly, dedicated teachers are so very much needed, but my daughter goes way beyond her professional duties and compensation, even spending several hundred dollars out of her own pocket each year on books and supplies that are not covered by the board of education. She never complains and always is happy to do whatever is asked of her, while other teachers in her group with husbands and children ask if "she would mind doing things they leave uncompleted as they must be home to prepare dinner, etc." Thank you for bringing these great and remarkable teachers to the attention of student's parents.
Mrs. S. - May 8th, 2014 at 2:11 PM
Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness! It's wonderful to have someone appreciate what we do & recognize that all we're trying to do is make a difference in the lives of children and at the end of the day, possibly, be allowed to teach them something... without being criticized!!!!! May God Richly bless you!!!
Cathy - May 8th, 2014 at 4:57 PM
This is one of the best I've ever read!! Thank you~ Thank you~ Thank you!!!
Missy Froeber - May 8th, 2014 at 5:07 PM
Oh, Jen, what I wish wish wish wish is that we had teachers like yours in our schools! If we did I would; not have found out that my 5th grader, who got a B last semester, was flunking 20 days before the end of the school year. I would not have gotten a reply from his teacher telling me that she was too busy to meet with me even though I will come to her at her convenience whenever and where ever she can meet. And I would not have gotten the brush off from the school principal when I called in order to discuss the fact that my B student was now an F and I'm wondering what is happening because said student will not discuss it with me. Unfortunately, I hear the same story from other parents in our district; our teachers are underpaid, overworked and just plain burnt out. How sad is that when you are so right, they are the ones who shape our children just as much if not more than we do. Sigh, to be fair, I grew up with teachers like yours. If a student was struggling in class they called the parents and worked out a plan. They were bright and innovative and fun and they were just as overworked and underpaid then as now, but they had passion and passion is something I do not see in my student's teachers. So for Teacher Appreciation week, I hope that the new teachers, the ones just coming out of college, all bright-eyed and passionate and full of ideas, can hang onto that passion so that at sometime my student can know what it is to truly appreciate a good teacher.
Shawn - May 8th, 2014 at 8:13 PM
I totally printed off copies of this great blog to give to my kids' teachers - along with some gift cards, of course :)
Mar - May 8th, 2014 at 10:06 PM
Thank you (and the parents in the middle school where I teach) very much for the kudos and good wishes and prayers and junk food in the staff lounge for 5 days straight. Really. Thank you.
Jen - May 8th, 2014 at 10:12 PM
This blog entry was waaay better than a Chili's gift card!

My favorite part:
I wish zero teachers had to instruct all day then go home and oversee their own kids%u2019 homework. That is just asking too much. Let%u2019s call a teacher managing her kid%u2019s science fair project at 7:30pm what it is: a tragedy and impending meltdown. Stop it, universe. She%u2019s done enough.

I can be patient all day long with the hundreds of students I work with as a school counselor and then have nothing left for my own three kids. But it is May and summer vacation is a coming!

Kelli - May 8th, 2014 at 10:55 PM
Best.Teacher.Blog.Ever. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I laughed, I smile, I shared it with fellow teachers who laughed and smiled too. Blessings to you and yours!
Jenn - May 8th, 2014 at 11:10 PM
I am speechless, feeling like you have been watching me as a teacher for the past 11 years! Thank you for taking the time to write this, Jen! I am encouraged and inspired to continue to touch students hearts and minds. God's blessings to you and your family!
Gay Lynn Joseph - May 9th, 2014 at 9:56 AM
Thanks Jen......I will certainly enjoy my meal at Chili's and will certainly think of your sweet family!........I have had the privilege of teaching three of your children, and I love them all dearly. All so sweet and special and very unique in their own way......I will NEVER forget how Gavin who is now 16 (I think) stayed and straightened up my room after class everyday (6th grade).....picked up any trash on the floor and pushed in chairs and then ran to his next class..... I never asked him to.....he just has a servant's heart....and I meant he did it every day with out fail......I had the gift of Sydney in both 6th and 8th grades.........let's just say she is your child. Her drive, dedication, intellegence, love of life and conern for the world will be seen in the mark she leaves on this world.........and precious Caleb........that energy needs to be bottled and sold.....he enjoys life to the utmost and God is going to use him in amazing ways......lighting up every room and situation he walks in and through......I have loved having your children and have enjoyed sharing in your move to Austin, the adoption process, the growing of ANC, the HGTV gig among many other Hatmaker adventures I feel I have been a part of.....thank you for sharing your family with me everyday at school. My life has been enriched......I look forward to seeing the mountains moved by these kiddos........enjoy every minute........ it goes by so fast! Blessings.....Gay Lynn Joseph
brittney - May 9th, 2014 at 11:36 AM
absolutely true! Im not a teacher yet but Im trying endlessly to land a job and ive seen all the hard work teachers put in and you are right they are underpaid and often misunderstood what they do all day
Cynthia - May 9th, 2014 at 12:46 PM
Thank you from a teacher at a state juvenile correctional facility, where you can not possibly imagine what we go through. Blessings to you for thinking of us!
Jen - May 9th, 2014 at 9:09 PM
Thank you, Jen, thank you. I need to be reminded of what matters often. I need to quiet the voices that shout that it's all about test scores and remember that we leave a legacy - not one on paper, but one in the hearts of children. Thank you.
Amie - May 9th, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Thanks Jen! Parents like you make our job WAY easier, I teach Kindergarten and trust me we hear all the funny stories that happen at home too:)
Karen Butch - May 10th, 2014 at 12:18 AM
I didn't read about any teacher complaints until your post Kendra. Not even sure why you brought that up. I don't hear teachers complaining, I hear you complaining.
Jody - May 11th, 2014 at 3:50 PM
I think you are just plain AWESOME! By the way, I'm a teacher who will be going into year 19 next August.
Kristen - May 12th, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Wow, I needed to hear this today. It's been a TOUGH morning with my preschoolers. I was just catching up on some blogs while they are in th Library. I prayed for a reminder of why Im here and a snap out of my "can it be summer yet" attitude. Thank you so so so much:)
Flower Patch Farmgirl - May 12th, 2014 at 11:50 AM
Stop it.

I'm only a few-odd paragraphs in, and the Holy Spirit just swept over me with your words and I know it because of the full-body goosebumps.

"I wish your pay grade and job security did not depend on a room of nervous children mastering a test that doesn%u2019t necessarily indicate achievement, but rather, tends to be an accurate indicator of the income of the student's parents and his fortunate (or unfortunate) placement in the %u201Cnorm,%u201D because heaven help the ESL kids, those with special needs, the underresourced, the at-risk, the creatives, and the divergent learners."

I have the spiritual gift of goosebumps. Be jealous.

It's just that public school is becoming one of the hills I'm willing to die on. Who knew??? And for 13 years I thought it would kill me in a totally different way!

Jamie Brucker - May 15th, 2014 at 1:44 AM
I am in a group of very underecognized teachers, preschool (no, we do not just sit around all day and play). But after reading your all inclusive thank yous I am encouraged. In return I would also like to say thank you to you for taking time out to recognize what we do. Empathy goes even further than a Chilli's gift card.
Heather - May 15th, 2014 at 3:19 PM
Oh lord, just think, for every idiot commenter here, some teacher has to deal with them and their offspring. All hail the teachers! You are wonderful and I am tired, so sorry about the sloppy projects and the permission slip forgetting and stuff.
Julie - May 15th, 2014 at 5:25 PM
I couldn't fight back the tears reading this, and I'm not even a teacher. Tears FROM a parent who has always been so very grateful for each and everyone of her children's teachers over the years...and tears OF a parent- whose first born chose to change her college major to Education. I know what lies ahead of her after graduation (hence, the concern), but I also know that she will be doing what she loves :). God bless the teachers of this land.
Kathy - May 15th, 2014 at 9:09 PM
WOW!!! THANK YOU! I am a teacher and you made me cry! I spent the last 2 years teaching 75% of my previous position, but only getting paid for 50%. Cause if you take out the lunch time and before school meeting time and (Heaven forbid) prep time, you can cram 4 hours of teaching into exactly half a day. Who need's lunch time to talk to colleagues? Who needs a one minute reprieve between classes to go pee? But STILL, make sure you're communicating with parents, teachers, etc. you know the drill. I was literally with students every minute of the time I was being paid for. As if it just magically happens. I know you know it doesn't! Oh, and you think that at least I would have only worked my mornings and had my afternoons free. NOPE. I had to work afternoons, cause music isn't that important anyway, and it definitely can't be done during the morning, cause that's when they need to have math and science! Yet, the year before, when I was full time, having a music class in the am was not a problem at all! I'd like the administration to come do my job, But I digress.
I only mention the above because there were many times during that 2 years (when I added on 2 extra jobs to make ends meet) when I thought, Why. Am. I. Doing. This? and then it would happen; a student would say "I LOVE your class!" or give me a hug on the way out (I am NOT going to stop a 5 year old from giving me a hug and returning it. I JUST WON'T!).... Or write me a note on a full sheet of paper that simply said You ROCK!".....Or find their voice (literally and sing out for all)... Or, and this one was the clincher-- when a 2nd grade boy sat next to me at the Nutcracker Ballet field trip I arranged, completely and TOTALLY enthralled and didn't even want to leave his seat during intermission (so as not to miss anything in the 2nd act). I know he will never forget that event and maybe someday he'll take a child to the Nutcracker and so on. Is he going to grow up to play classical music, or to go to the ballet on a regular basis? Probably not--who care's? I don't. I just wanted him to experience ways to tell a story with out uttering a single word. Ways to touch a soul that goes BEYOND words. Despite being the HARDEST 2 work years of my life, I just knew. There was nowhere else I was supposed to be. This is my legacy. I want all the parents out there to know I LOVE your kids! (in a good way). There is nothing I won't do to help them. And if anyone, ANYONE ever tried to hurt my students, I GUARANTEE you, I would throw myself into harm's way before you could blink. It would be that automatic.
Oh and by the way, I have now found a new AMAZING full time job that couldn't be better. The hard times have come full circle. Thank you for the encouragement!!!
suzanne - May 17th, 2014 at 7:16 AM
I'm a teacher and I cried. Also, I would LOVE a Chili's gift card.
brownleer - May 17th, 2014 at 8:04 AM
Jen, that was great. Thank you! Sometimes teachers (and everyone) simply need to hear a little "thank you," and we feel like we can once again take on the world! :) God bless!
TieceyKaye - May 27th, 2014 at 1:56 PM
So close to being done with the year! I'm trudging to the finish. I'm a single mom of two, one of whom is in my own classroom. Her homework hasn't been done in months. I figure she can catch up over summer, right?

Thank you. For all the times I feel overwhelmed, underqualified, attacked by parents... THANK YOU.
Sandra - May 27th, 2014 at 10:44 PM
Jen, thank you so much for your kind words. I've been teaching for 15 years, and I am passionate about my job. I absolutely love working with high school juniors. I put in approximately 75-80 hours a week, but I don't do this for the pay. I do it for the kids and because I love my job. I sat in a parent conference today while a parent screamed and cursed at me and accused me of being a crappy teacher because little Billy is failing my class. Little Billy hasn't done a lick of work all year long. I got an email an hour later telling me again what a crappy teacher I am because little Susie failed a test. Susie never read a word of the novel and did none of the homework. It's so hard not to take these attacks personally. When (and why) did parents stop holding the child accountable, and start holding the teacher accountable instead? My students score extremely well on standardized tests--the measure used to determine whether I'm a good teacher or not (even though I often disagree with what and HOW I'm required to teach). No, I don't want or expect gifts or appreciation (which I rarely receive anyway), and I certainly don't want to be "worshipped" as many unhappy parents suggested in the comments above. I just want to teach your little darlings, love them, and make sure they succeed in college and in life. I want to be treated like a professional who knows what she's doing. And it's nice to be recognized every now and then instead of being denigrated, criticized, and insulted by parents, the media, and legislators. I do not get paid overtime, yet I'm REQUIRED to stay late in the afternoons to tutor your little darling, and I do it with patience and affection. I must also earn additional degrees in order to get a pay raise, so I'm in debt up to my neck with school loans--police officers and firemen are not required to do this. Yet, I still sacrifice my family's needs to spend $1500 to $2000 of my own money each year to purchase supplies to teach your little darling (and to provide my students with basic supplies like pencils and notebook paper to use in class because they rarely have their own). A rare thank you is sweet words to my ears--please don't deny me that.
Heather - May 29th, 2014 at 6:53 PM
My son just finished his 2nd grade year and we try to show his teacher appreciation throughout the year as well as with a unique end of the year gift. As a fellow teacher, turned stay at home mom, I know how hard teachers work to provide the best learning environment for our children. Thanks for your post and adoration towards teachers!
Throwing in the towel - May 30th, 2014 at 9:42 PM
I'm so close to quitting. After 20 years in the job I love, I just can't handle the bullying anymore. Not the kid bullies; they're easy. It's the parents. Who bully me. I'm so tired of it. I love each one of their kids, my kids. I'm not perfect, no, but I try hard. And every kid knows I love them. I wish we had parents like you.
Parents, stop. Give us the benefit of the doubt sometimes -- as we do for you. Do you think we really believe everything your kid says about you? And trust me, we hear it ALL! Do you think we go on social media and post nasty things about you or your kids? Do you think we go whispering to everyone else in your network about how bad you are?
I went to six years of school for this career I love. And countless weekends and summers full of extra classes and conferences to better understand and help your kid. My own kids pay the price of my career. I've almost pulled cots into my classroom at the beginning and end of the school year so they can go to bed there.
And for what? So you can criticize me further that I didn't shelter your speshul snoflake from a kindergartner calling her a name? That I didn't call on your kid when he raised his hand? That I made her make up work she hadn't done during class?
And then you'll give these stupid end-of-year Thank yous that mean CRAP after the hell you put us through. All I want from you is respect.
Kristin - June 6th, 2014 at 8:37 PM
It's simply a perfect way to say thanks, Jen. From the world of 8th grade social studies (World Geography and Cultures, to be exact!), thanks for the sweet love!
Suzi - June 16th, 2014 at 6:35 PM
Thank you Jen! I am a 2nd year teacher and this is my 2nd career (I'm 52 years old). I teach special education and I love my job! Yes, I get so frustrated with all the paperwork, STAAR-Alt testing, ARDs, parents who just don't care, etc. but when one of my students has that "aha" moment, it makes it all worthwhile. Yes, I work a ton of hours but I wouldn't change my career for anything. Thanks for recognizing the hard work we do. God bless!
Jackie - June 18th, 2014 at 1:16 PM
This is the best thing I've EVER read!!!!

Love, A grateful teacher
Aswathy - June 19th, 2014 at 6:39 AM
I loved this post...just because it shows an energetic teacher...really inspiring!!!
Bill - August 23rd, 2014 at 2:42 PM
19 cents an hour! Please go back to school and take some math classes. $50,000 a year divided by 365 days a year divided by 24 hours a day means that you would made $5.70 an hour if you worked every hour of every day of the year. Yes there are many dedicated teachers in this world and they should be praised. And there are also many that should find another field of employment for their heart is not in it and they do not do a good job.
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